The boozed-up killer of an NYPD highway cop in a gruesome 2021 Queens hit-and-run was convicted in short order Tuesday on multiple charges for plowing into the 14-year veteran while wasted on vodka, wine and marijuana.
The Queens Supreme Court jury needed barely more than three hours to return its guilty verdicts against Jessica Beauvais, 34, in the horrifying death of Officer Anastasios Tsakos as he directed traffic along a stretch of the Long Island Expressway on April 27, 2021. The defendant, wearing a pearl necklace and diamond earrings in court, showed no emotion as she was found guilty of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.
“We’re relieved to finally see some justice,” said Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association. “We’re not going to celebrate today. The facts were clear as ever in this case. She decided to get behind that wheel after drinking alcohol, doing drugs. … She’s going to prison for a long time. Not long enough.”
The defendant, whose blood-alcohol level was nearly double the legal limit two hours after her arrest, faces up to 27 years in prison at her Dec. 14 sentencing.
Once in custody after the 1:57 a.m. wreck, the deranged driver was caught on a police body camera lamenting her arrest following a 3-mile chase in which Beauvais ignored flashing lights and traffic cones while behind the wheel with a shattered front window. Tsakos was catapulted into the air by the impact, landing about 170 feet away on the Long Island Expressway and losing his left leg in the fatal crash.
“Why did my first accident have to be a cop?” Beauvais, who was driving with a suspended license, exclaimed once in custody, “Not that I wanted it to be someone else, but f—. I’ve been driving since I was 16 and haven’t hit as much as a pothole.”
Tsakos and his partner had shut down traffic in the wake of a deadly car crash along the expressway, and Beauvais ignored the multiple warning signs before plowing through the line of orange safety cones and past the police strobe lights as she drove off in her 2013 Volkswagen Passat.
“Her license had been suspended, her blood-alcohol level was at nearly twice the legal limit and she had smoked marijuana,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
“The defendant had absolutely no business being behind the wheel,” she continued. “Her selfish decision-making and recklessness led to a horrific, senseless tragedy that left Detective Tsakos’ widow to raise their two young children without their father.”
Hendry noted the conviction came on Halloween, one of the many holidays the officer’s two boys were left to mark without their dad.
Only hours before the fatal crash, the convicted killer hosted an expletive-laden podcast criticizing police in the wake of guilty verdicts against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd. And prosecutors laid out the case for the jury in damning detail during the trial.
“She came barreling down that highway, blew over a traffic cone, missed hitting their vehicles,” Assistant District Attorney Greg Lasak told jurors during his opening argument.
“But she didn’t miss hitting Officer Tsakos. She struck him with such speed, and such power and such force that his body smashed into the hood of his car rolled up the windshield and hit the roof.”